5 Superfoods To Ward Off Depression and Enhance Your Mood

Depression superfoodsDepression is one of the major contributors to the development of disability, decreased productivity, lost time from work, and reduced quality of life. Stress, depression, and anxiety are the leading causes why people see their doctor and receive prescription medications. On a daily basis, many people are faced with stressful situations. Add everyday stress to the already hectic pace of our own lives, and you can end up frazzled and anxious.

When you’re stressed out, you tend to eat poorly, like making a quick and fast snack which is just nutritionless. But it’s exactly when you’re stressed that you need to eat certain healthy foods that are filled with the right kinds of nutrients to de-stress your life. Here are my top foods that can get rid of stress.

1. Seafood

This family of food, including oysters, crabs, lobsters, and shrimp, contains large amounts of zinc, which is a mineral necessary to support the adrenal gland, fight infections, and enhance immunity. Chronic stress or disease can increase the requirements for zinc.

Other good sources of zinc include beef, pork, and chicken. Include these healthy seafoods to get rid of stress in an easier and healthier way.

2. Ginseng tea

Ginseng is an herbal root plant. It has been used for centuries as an “adaptogen,” meaning that it has been used to manage stress. Herbal adaptogens function to allow you to cope with the stress, fight fatigue, and improve energy, endurance, and concentration. There are several different types of ginseng tea; however, I think the Panax variety is the best choice.

To get rid of stress, drink tea two to three times per day during periods of high stress.

3. Bright-colored vegetables and fruit

Eating healthy foods, such as those in the citrus family, bell peppers, kiwi, sweet potatoes, and strawberries can help you get rid of stress. These healthy foods contain generous amounts of vitamin C, which can be quickly depleted when you are under stress. The organ responsible for your stress response is the adrenal gland, and it requires a continual supply of this vitamin to manufacture stress hormones, which allow your body to adapt to stressful events. Vitamin C is also required for the proper functioning of the immune response, which is often challenged during periods of chronic stress.

When you are asking yourself how to get rid of stress, take a bite out of these healthy foods! I recommend consuming two to three servings of these foods on a daily basis.

4. Tryptophan

This is an essential amino acid that is also important for producing serotonin. Studies have shown it’s not effective to consume foods with serotonin, since serotonin cannot pass through barriers to get to the brain. Tryptophan is a precursor for serotonin, meaning that it can turn into serotonin. It is able to cross the barrier into the brain and, in combination with vitamin B6, it produces serotonin. The combination of these two nutrients is important for an antidepressant effect. Low levels of tryptophan have been shown to induce depression.

Food Sources: Tryptophan is found in many protein-rich foods, though much smaller amounts compared to other amino acids. You can find tryptophan in lamb, fish, poultry, cheese, milk, eggs, potatoes, and bananas.

5. Selenium

This is another mineral that can have an effect on decreasing depressive symptoms. One of the reasons why is that selenium plays a role in producing thyroid hormones—decreased thyroid functioning has been shown to be associated with depressive symptoms. Studies have reported that those on a very-low-selenium diet, compared to a higher selenium diet, have shown more symptoms of depression and hostility.

Food Sources: Selenium can be found in foods such as mushrooms, pasta, rice, milk, cheese, yogurt, nuts, eggs, beans, tofu, oysters, fish, liver poultry, beef, pork, and lamb.

Dealing with depression is never easy, but you don’t have to suffer in silence. You can turn to therapy, medications, and diet and exercise changes to make a difference.